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Northeast - Obituary - Louis Ritter

Louis Ritter campaigns with Kennedy
Louis Ritter (right, with arm on door) campaigns with John F. Kennedy in Jacksonville in 1960. [Photo: Lew Bush/Florida Times-Union]

Louis Hampton Ritter, a longtime lobbyist and progressive Jacksonville mayor who helped run John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Florida, died April 9 at his home in Palm Valley. He was 84. Ritter was elected to the Jacksonville City Council in 1951 and became mayor in 1965. He was known for improving race relations, appointing African-Americans to city boards and integrating the police force. He launched Jacksonville’s anti-poverty agency and led the successful effort to build Jacksonville International Airport. He also served as secretary of Florida’s Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation under Gov. Reubin Askew.